November 24, 2010 on Fox News


CHICAGO — A defrocked Roman Catholic priest has been charged with trying to hire someone to murder a Texas teenager who accused him of sexual abuse two years ago, officials said.

John Fiala, 52, was arrested by state troopers Thursday after he negotiated a 5,000 dollar hit with an undercover agent, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

The investigation began after a neighbor tipped off the sheriff of a nearby county, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

“I received a call from an unnamed informant who was having problems with the way Fiala was acting,” Edwards County Sheriff Don Letsinger told the paper.

The neighbor “had been solicited (to commit the murder) himself, and he didn’t want anything to do with that,” Letsinger said, adding that Fiala allegedly offered the neighbor 5,000 dollars to kill the teen.

“I have to honestly say that I didn’t expect this development,” the sheriff said.

“I really was kind of surprised that he would stick his neck out this far and talk to people he didn’t even know about having someone murdered.”

Letsinger did not immediately return requests for comment.

Fiala was arrested Thursday after he made an arrangement to murder his accuser with an undercover officer at his home, the newspaper reported.

Fiala is being held in a Dallas County jail on one count of solicitation to commit murder and two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child after a judge set bail at 700,000 dollars, the paper reported on its website.

He was indicted in September on four counts of sexually assaulting the then-16-year-old boy in a rural county west of San Antonio in 2008.

The boy – who said he was raped at gunpoint – filed a lawsuit last spring accusing several branches of the Catholic church of covering up past abuse by Fiala.

Fiala was removed from active ministry in October 2008 after the church was informed of his relationship with the boy by law enforcement.

The boy’s attorney said his client is relieved that Fiala is back in custody.

“Fiala had threatened him with physical violence and threatened to kill him before, and he was very afraid of that,” Tom Rhodes told the Express-News.

“My client wasn’t happy that Fiala was trying to recruit someone to kill him, but he’s happy Fiala is in jail now.”